For one of my classes during senior year of high school, I was talking to a co-teacher about a final project coming up for one of my classes, which was a trifold presentation. I said that I didn’t care much for doing trifold presentations, and the co-teacher told me that if I could come up with an interesting alternative to a trifold presentation, I could use that instead. A few weeks later, I put my alternative presentation on the projector to present, and several members in the audience said “wow!”
Today, I will be sharing my tested ideas for alternatives to trifold presentations that allow students to showcase their knowledge in a fun and creative way.
The trouble with trifolds
Some of the reasons I prefer to use alternatives to traditional trifold presentations include:
- I have trouble reading information from them, or I have trouble including all of the required information in a font size I can read
- I feel much more comfortable presenting information digitally
- My audience might have trouble reading traditional trifolds and I want to give them my presentation in an accessible format
- Alternatively, I would rather add materials to my board that would not traditionally stay affixed for very long- more on that in the next section.
Create a tactile presentation
One of my friends and I created a tactile presentation on seashells for a college project. Instead of printing photos of seashells or gluing them on the board, we decided to use a mix of real and 3D printed shells that we rested on top of text labels affixed to a posterboard. The text labels were in large print and easy to read, and we didn’t have to worry about shells falling off the board. Since our target audience was blind and low vision science students, we chose not to glue the seashells and instead allowed the audience to explore them by touch.
- How To Create Tactile Images With Everyday Objects
- Benefits of Visiting Touch Tanks With Vision Impairment
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Use a digital trifold
For my project senior year, I designed a digital trifold in PowerPoint by drawing a trapezoid at the top of a blank custom slide, and then adding lines to simulate a real trifold. After saving this image as a background image, I then added images, text boxes, and other colorful squares to make it look like a real trifold. However, unlike a real trifold, I could read the information from my own device or the projector. I’m including the image I used for a digital trifold template below for anyone else interested in using this method- set the slide size to 29.5 x 40 and set this image as the background.
- How To Create Accessible PowerPoints
- How To Make Music Accessible With Microsoft Publisher
- How To Modify Anatomy Diagrams For The Visually Impaired
Design an infographic
I love creating data visualizations and displaying information graphically, so when it came time to present a nutrition project for my English class, I decided to create an infographic that summarized the key points of my paper and showed different images of healthy foods. Since I was able to create the image in high resolution, it was easy for me to read information with Magnifier or by zooming in on the image. There are templates online for creating infographics, but I just used Microsoft Publisher.
- How To Create High Resolution Images For Users With Low Vision
- My Eight Favorite Free Fonts For Print Disabilities
- Windows Magnifier and Low Vision
Create a presentation in Microsoft Office Sway
It’s no secret how much I love Microsoft Office Sway, and I recently did a group project for one of my data science classes using Sway. For the project, I included sections of text with images, embedded widgets, videos, and other interactive media so that viewers could learn more about the life of a famous social scientist. I’ve also used Sway at conferences and during guest lectures, and have been thrilled with how it allows me to create amazing looking presentations quickly and easily.
- Microsoft Office Sway
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Shortly before I had to present a project for one of my classes, I ended up in the hospital and was unable to attend class as planned. Since I couldn’t be there to present my information on the board, I recorded audio of myself giving the presentation that could be played back for the professor later. When the same thing happened with a group project where we were using Sway, I attached my audio recordings to the file and sent my group members an email telling them what was going on. I enjoyed being able to record my audio in advance since that meant I could practice and make sure I was saying things correctly.
- YouDescribe Audio Described YouTube Videos Review
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How I present alternatives to trifold presentations
Before I even start on my project, I ask my teacher/professor if I can do one of these alternatives instead, and explain that it is easier for me to access information in these adapted formats. I’ve never had a professor turn down one of these ideas, and typically when it comes time to present I will use the classroom projector to show my digital project on the board. For the tactile presentation, I will use a document camera to magnify objects and invite the audience to come touch or pass around objects.
- How To Make Classroom Videos Easier To See
- How To Make Things On The Board Easier To See
- Computer Lab Accommodations For Low Vision Students
While I don’t necessarily dislike doing trifold presentations, I infinitely prefer these alternatives to trifold presentations that allow me to develop my technology skills and show information in a unique way. I’m not asking for special treatment or to have the grading rubric modified, as I expect my project to be graded the same as everyone else’s, but I do want to make sure that I create a project that I can clearly read and access with assistive technology. I hope these alternatives to trifold presentations are helpful for other students!